Thursday, May 30, 2013

Treat Farm

Into the Woods

Ever since my sister-in-law Kim shared her discovery of Treat Farm last fall (and posted beautiful photos again early this spring), I've been wanting to visit this tucked-away place.  So when Boppa and Gommy suggested that we go for a hike to this old farmstead last weekend, I was delighted.

On the Trail

Peeking In

Choke Cherry

On the Porch

This peaceful property is a part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  But unlike most places where the public is welcome, there are no trail markers, plaques, or signs of any kind.  The history of the land remains a bit of a mystery to visitors passing through.  

Heading Back

A narrow winding path leads away from the farm buildings, out into the meadow, and through the woods before it opens up on a tremendous bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.  As we stood in awe of the view, we wondered together who came before us, all those years ago, and settled in this beautiful place. 

Look Out

Silhouettes

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

On the Hunt

The First Find

Today we went on a very successful morel hunt with my brother Chris, sister-in-law Lara, and their son Julien.  We ventured into the Gousty woods, and Ellen found the first morel of the day.  Describing her mushroom in a most matter-a-fact tone, she said, "I saw a little squiggly thing, so I looked down to check if it was a morel.  It was a morel, so I picked it."

Ahh, Ellen.  If only life were so wonderfully simple.  And yet it's true that a morning in the woods with people I love was just what I needed today.  Everything did feel right with the world when we were mushroom hunting.  As Chris pointed out: finding morels is a lesson in scarcity.  The beauty, the wonder in scarcity.  Finding even one little lone soldier is exciting.  Everyone crowds around to have a look.

Gray Morel

On the Hunt

Tiny Morel

Finding a cluster of two or three brings everyone down on their hands and knees.  Little people have an advantage here, I think.  Morel hunting is slow work, and it helps to be close to the ground.

Yellow Beauties

Look of Delight

Handful

Also, morel mushrooms look remarkably like gnome hats, hiding miniature people trooping along the forest floor.  Maybe this is part of their appeal to the younger ones. 

Three Little Gnomes'

Riding Back

Heading Home

The morels were carefully carried home, perfectly prepared for lunch, and thoroughly enjoyed.  They are beautiful, delicious, and—perhaps most importantly—scarce.  I asked Chris if he thought we could come back on Tuesday, with a friend, to find more.  "As in a week from yesterday?"  He asked with his eyebrows raised.  "No, they'll be finished by then.  The leaves are nearly all out now.  After the leaves come out, the morels are done."  

Sometimes the most precious things are the most fleeting.  At least it helps to hold them in our hands for a moment.

A Single Black

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Little Paul

Gazing Up

Harry's brother, Paul, came for a visit this evening.  Okay, so we're not sure if this sweet little pup is actually Harry's brother.  Half-brother—maybe.  Honorary brother—for sure!  The girls fell in love with Paul.  They were barely willing to share him with big brother Harry.  

Puppy Love

Our friends, Hillary and Matt, generously let the girls pamper their puppy, even allowing Amabel and Ellen to snuggle Paul up in a doll bed.  I knew the girls would be excited to spend time with a pup, but I hadn't imagined how utterly taken they would be.  When we were talking about Paul after his visit, Amabel was adamant that Harry was never that small.  She really, truly didn't believe me until I showed her photos of little Harry last summer.  At first Amabel said, "No!  That's not Harry—that's Paul!"  But then she looked closer and couldn't dispute the fact: our Harry has grown up.

Puppy Play

Buds

Oh, puppy love!  We hope Paul and his family will come back again soon!

Little Paul

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Springing

Blooming Forest

The world all around us is coming alive.  Amabel came in this morning saying, "It smells so good outside.  Mama, you have to come out and just smell."  

Today we finished listening to The Secret Garden as an audiobook—and what wonderful timing.  Amabel and I were amazed to learn that the story was written over 100 years ago.  It is truly a timeless classic.  I love Dicken's use of the Yorkshire word "wick" to tell Mary that the garden is still alive and well.  I keep thinking of his words as I look about me this week.  Mary, Dicken, and Colin have inspired us to spend even more time in our garden!

Girls

Meadow Grass

Under Cover

This is our first year sheet mulching, permaculture style.  I have to admit that I was skeptical last fall when Jeffrey and I were putting down the layers . . . but after pulling back the mulch to plant our first kale and cabbage starts this week—I'm sold on the method!  The soil underneath the was moist and teeming with worms.  And the bed is nearly weed free.  Brilliant.

Apricot Blossoms

Our apricot tree is blooming!  Last year it was little more than a twig.  I'm not sure if we'll actually get any apricots this summer, but the scent of the blooms is enough to make me dream.

Garden

Our rows of garlic are growing; trays of baby plants are thriving; and the chicks are getting bigger every day.

Starts

Chick

And, to my great delight, the girls brought in the very first bouquet of the season!  So very much to be grateful for this week.

First Bouquet

Friday, May 3, 2013

Meet the Babies

Barred Rock

We brought home eight chicks this week!  Amabel and Ellen have been getting to know their babies (they just hatched on Monday!), watching them, snuggling them, and naming them.  We have two Barred Rock chicks: Fuzzy and Sleepy;

Isa Brown

Two Isa Brown chicks: Cheepa and Isa;

Australorp

Two Australorp chicks: Star and Pingu;

Buff Orpington

And two Buff Orpington chicks: Ling and Ting.

Delighted!

Harry is both curious and puzzled.  On one hand, he already seems protective of the little balls of fuzz.  On the other hand, I'm sure he'd like to eat a few chicken nuggets for dinner.  So we're keeping a close watch on all the animals over here as everyone adjusts to the newest additions!